By Katherine Wei ,The China Post
TAIPEI, Taiwan — After 20 days of near-silence, Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday met the student activists occupying the Legislature and promised not to hold cross-caucus negotiations regarding the controversial trade pact with China before a supervisory law is passed. Almost into its fourth week, the so-called Sunflower Student Movement continues its seizure of the Legislature’s Assembly Hall with protesters participating in sit-ins around the building. Wang entered the meeting chamber and greeted the students and activists inside, but did not make direct conversation with the student activist leaders.
Deputy Speaker Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱), Kuomintang (KMT) caucus whip Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池) and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) were among the lawmakers who accompanied Wang to the Legislature.
Wang read from a statement, saying that he “guarantees not to mediate any cross-party negotiations (concerning) the service trade agreement before the supervisory law that monitors all cross-strait pacts is passed.” Later in a KMT press conference, Lin noted that Wang’s decision came with “very short notice” and that he had only been notified in the morning.
Before entering the Legislature, Wang released a statement that said he had never shied away from the differences and disputes that spawned from the handling of the pact’s passage. Noting that he had called for opinions from all party caucuses over 10 times and held six cross-party negotiations after the students first rushed into the Legislature on March 18, Wang said he felt sorry and regretted how the parties had been unable to reach a consensus despite the people’s wishes. As the speaker of the Legislative Yuan, Wang stressed that he will not be calling for any cross-party negotiations nor debates regarding the pact before a law overlooking all agreements signed with China is passed. The KMT caucus later stated that, as it had no knowledge of Wang’s plans and promises to the students beforehand, it will not be supporting the speaker’s response to the protesters.